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Invincible Iron Man #522: Review

Aug 2012
Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca

Story Name:

The future 2: Rings

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #522 Review by (August 5, 2012)
Mandarin sends Blizzard, Crimson Dynamo, Firebrand, Firepower, Living Laser, Mauler, Titanium Man, Vibro and Whirlwind on the scavenger hunt. Only Chemistro and Melter are missing. Chemistro was probably severely injured by the new Iron Man in #520. Melter is probably out of favour since last issue. When Mandarin says he freed some of them from "complicated social schedules", I guess this is a joke about freeing them from jail. This would apply to Vibro captured last issue and Mauler in #520. Crimson Dynamo and Firebrand were taken by the Detroit Steel Corps in #517, but handed back to their ally Mandarin straight away. (Firepower was supposedly drowned in #518, but probably Mandarin sent someone to save him.) The only villains I can definitely identify in action are Titanium Man and Whirlwind in Vancouver. Note that Titanium Man is the only one of his army from #513 that Mandarin hadn't yet made use of. The character in Botswana seems to be Firepower. But if so he's dropped off Firebrand who was riding on his back earlier. The attacker in Oakland is probably Living Laser. The one in Taipei is indistinct, but may be Mauler. Though why Stark should have requested a car transporter is a mystery? In #513's Comments I followed the lead of Comic Book DB a listed this Titanium Man as the original. But CBDB has the one in this issue as TM no 3, seen in Iron Man Legacy and some recent Amazing Spider-Man issues. (If so maybe Mandarin had to get *him* of jail too? Or maybe the "complicated social schedule" means appearing in other comics.) Who knows which is right?

This is part 2 of 6 (assuming #527 isn't part of this arc). The publisher's blurb includes "The new Iron Man vs Rescue" which isn't true. Mind you last issue's blurb equally erroneously suggested they teamed up, which *would* fit this issue. Pepper Potts and Carson Wyche are lovers!? (At least I think it's Wyche.) Since when? I must have blinked and missed it! Mandarin's story of acquiring the rings is taken directly from the latest version in Invincible Iron Man Annual (2010) #1. But I believe this is the first time the souls of dead warriors have been mentioned. Mandarin must have put the bomb back in Zeke Stane's chest after Zeke removed it himself in #517. Tony Stark's 'ruse' that Zeke Stane mentions was presumably switching the operations so that Stane got what was scheduled for the other guy. And this got the bomb out of his chest (and presumably also reversed what was keeping his IQ down low). But (assuming I really understand what is supposed to have happened) this doesn't make much sense. Who was the other patient? How did Stark arrange those compatible operations? Why did Mandarin authorise whatever he thought the operations would do? Why didn't the surgeons notice/object to what Stark did? Why doesn't Mandarin notice that Stane no longer wears the 'clamp' on his head from last issue? What happened to the poor guy on the other operating table? And probably other things I haven't thought of.

Added later:- Pepper and Carson didn't come *completely* out of the blue. In #31 said Stark fired Wyche from a previous employment because he and Pepper seemed to be getting more than friendly. Does Matt Fraction plan these things *that* deeply?!


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #522 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In Mandarin City, Mandarin sends  most of his super-agents out to scavenge the materials that Tony Stark said last issue he needs to build a Titanomech. They strike in various places, but the team we follow is Titanium Man and Whirlwind stealing a computer data store from Vancouver, where they are interrupted by the new Iron Man.

Iron Man easily defeats the villains, but is then attacked by 2 of the Detroit Steel Corps led by Sasha Hammer in new armour that allows her to use her fingertip energy whips. Sasha intends to claim that Iron Man was working with the bad guys, and the Corps caught them all.

Pepper Potts is awakened by the JARVIS AI in the helmet by her bedside in Seattle, to tell her about the Vancouver battle. She leaves Carson Wyche in her bed and flies there in her Rescue armour.

Back in Mandarin City Tony Stark is overseeing medical operations on Ezekiel Stane and someone else. The operation on Zeke seems to be designed to relieve him of pain from the modifications that his body has been subjected to throughout his life. At the last minute Stark claims to have spotted that the operation instructions have been mixed up, and they're going to do the operations to the wrong people. Mandarin wants to kill the surgeon responsible, but Stark persuades him to let them carry on with the correct procedures.

Afterwards Stark threatens to commit suicide to avoid continuing to work for Mandarin. But Mandarin says that he wouldn't do it, even if he used his partial control of Tony's thoughts/body to push him in that direction. Because deep down Stark still thinks he's going to win in the end.

Mandarin recounts how he found his rings as a boy in a crashed alien spaceship. He claims they aren't actually rings, but containers for the spirits of legendary warriors. And Stark's work will free them.

The Detroit Steel trio have Iron Man on the ropes when Rescue arrives, claiming priority because the Iron Man suit contains unauthorised Stark technology. The 2 of them hold off Sasha and co, but run away when more Detroit Steels turn up.

Back in Seattle, on top of the Space Needle, Pepper claims she detects Stark, Resilient, AIM and SHIELD tech in Iron Man's armour. Like last issue she wants to know who he is. But again Jim Rhodes flies off without telling her.

The issue ends with Zeke Stane physically recovering from the operation, but with his mind already back in peak condition, after his IQ had been severely downgraded by Mandarin last issue. And the operation has also removed the bomb in his chest. (It also seems to have given him a couple of Stark repulsor chest implants.) Zeke says it's all down to Tony's successful 'ruse'.

Stark has almost completed the Titanomech. And tomorrow he and Zeke will go to war. (It remains to be seen whether this will be for or against Mandarin.)

Salvador Larroca
Salvador Larroca
Frank D'Armata
Salvador Larroca (Cover Penciler)
Salvador Larroca (Cover Inker)
Frank D'Armata (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Mark Paniccia.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Blizzard, Carson Wyche, Crimson Dynamo (Anton Vanko), Detroit Steel Corps, Ezekiel Stane, Firebrand, Firepower (Edwin Cord), Mauler, Sasha Hammer, Titanium Man, Vibro, Whirlwind (David Cannon).

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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